JAPANESE PRINTS

A MILLION QUESTIONS

TWO MILLION MYSTERIES

 

Ukiyo-e Prints
浮世絵版画

Port Townsend, Washington

 

TOYOHARA KUNICHIKA

原国周

とよはら.くにちか

(1835-1900)

 Subject: Prince Genji on an outing

Publisher: Ki-ya Sojirō

木屋宗次郎

きや.そうじろう

 Total size: 14 1/4" x 28 1/2"

Date: 1865, 5th Month

 Keiō 1

 慶応1年

Signed: Kunichika ga

 Illustrated: 1. On-line at the Boston Museum of Fine Arts web site

2. There is a crepe print example of the left hand panel in the  Museum für angewandte Kunst in Vienna

3. There is another copy of this triptych in the Ritsumeikan (立命館 or りつめいかん) collection illustrated on-line

 Condition: Good to excellent color. Each sheet

still has Japanese paper backing from when this

triptych was in an album. (That explains the good coloring.)

The left hand sheet includes a slight portion of the left side of the

middle sheet.

$320.00

SOLD!

 

     
   
     

 

BURNISHING

A fellow wrote me and asked if there was any metallic printing on this triptych. Off hand I couldn't think of any and told him I would get back to him. That led to a closer examination of these prints and I discovered two things in particular: There are several areas of burnishing with one prominent display of black on black burnishing seen above and that one of the woman had blackened teeth while the woman standing next to her did not. (See the details below.)

 

The pattern which Kunichika or his publisher chose to reproduce in such a subtle way is known as asanohamon (麻の葉文 or あさのはもん) which is composed of six-pointed stars. While it appears on the prints of many other artists it was prominently displayed on Kunichika prints.

 
 
 

OHAGURO

お歯黒

おはぐろ

OR

TOOTH BLACKENING

 

In one of our index/glossary listings we discussed tooth blackening. It had an ancient tradition going more than a thousand years. In that time it changed somewhat culturally from being an elitist practice to a more generalized beauty technique. By the time of the Edo period (1603-1868) it was required of married women. The triptych on this page fits into that time period and may be a clue to the possible to the identity of the stooping or kneeling woman in the right-hand panel.

 

 

TITLE CARTOUCHE

(Seen above)

 

 

 

 

 

PUBLISHER'S SEAL:

Ki-ya Sojirō

 

DATE SEAL:

1865, 5th Month

SIGNATURE:

Kunichika ga

 

 

 

 

 

 

       
     

 

     
   
     

 

 

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